Touched By The Tears Of A Butterfly
Mike MacDonaldGlenn Alteen
"Touched by the Tears of a Butterfly" consists of seven rocking chairs, each a different colour and placed before a silk scrim that flutters in the breeze of an air ionizer. The viewer is invited to sit in one of the chairs to watch the fourteen minute video of a butterfly emerging from a chrysalis and preparing to fly. Following are images of different butterflies feeding.
I have been studying traditional native medicines intensely over the last decade, at first in the bush and forests with elders and medicine people and then I studied the literature. As I began to photograph and videotape the medicine plants, I also included the butterflies, and asked the elders about them. I ws told that butterflies are to be treated with respect because they are the spirits of medicine people who have passed on. From a book I learned of a tribe on the Solomon Islands where the elders, from their deathbeds, tell their families what kind of butterfly they wil be when they die and that species will be respected. From an elder I learned to follow the butterflies to the good medicines: the butterflies have become my teachers. Every time I shoot a butterfly on a native plant I then look up the plant in my library of ethnobotany books. I always find a native medicinal use for these plants.